Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the House of Representatives for the United States, and former Presidential Candidate, Peoples’ Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar have frowned at the travel ban placed on Nigerian citizens by the US government.
Pelosi condemned the decision made by President Donald Trump to include Nigeria, Eritrea, Sudan, Tanzania, Kyrgyzstan, and Myanmar on the travel ban list. According to her, such list contravenes the American values and poses threat to the US’ security as well as the rule of law in the US.
She reacted to the travel ban list, which Nairametrics had earlier reported, through her Twitter handle, stating that, “The Trump Admin’s expansion of its un-American travel ban is a threat to our security, our values and the rule of law.
“Barring more than 350 million people from predominantly African countries from travelling to the US, this rule is discrimination disguised as policy.”
Pelosi to move against ban list: Pelosi, who is a member of the Democrats Party (opposition party to Trump’s Republican party), said the House would move against the ban list, which has been termed as religious discrimination because it targets countries with large Muslim population.
In her tweet, Pelosi stated that, “In the coming weeks, the House will bring the NO BAN Act to the Floor to prohibit religious discrimination in our immigration system and limit the President’s ability to impose such biased and bigoted restrictions.”
The Trump Admin’s expansion of its un-American travel ban is a threat to our security, our values and the rule of law. Barring more than 350 million people from predominantly African countries from traveling to the US, this rule is discrimination disguised as policy.
— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) February 1, 2020
Is Trump punishing Nigerians because of Buhari? The former Presidential aspirant, Atiku Abubakar, has cautioned President Trump against punishing Nigerians for the failure of President Muhammadu Buhari.
[READ MORE: US finally include Nigeria in travel ban list)
Note that reasons for the travel ban list were due to the failure of Nigeria and other banned countries to meet the security and information-sharing standard of the US. Also, while the ban on visas stops immigration of Nigerians to the US, it doesn’t stop the government officials from travelling to the US.
Reacting to the travel ban list, Atiku wrote on Twitter, “While I understand the reasons given by the Trump administration (the failure of the @MBuhari led administration to share information and to address issues of terrorism), the ban does not take into account the pro-American sentiments of the Nigerian public.
“…and the solidarity previous Nigerian administrations have had with the United States. I urge the government of President @realDonaldTrump to consider the history of US-Nigerian relationships.”
Atiku added in another tweet that, “Nigerians love the United States and have been a major force for the positive development of that great nation: 77% of all Black doctors in the United States are Nigerians. Nigerians are also the most educated immigrant community in America bar none.”
Target government, not Nigerians: With the impact Nigerians play in war-coalition with the US and the development of US, Atiku said Nigerians should not be targeted, rather, the ban should be placed on government tor failing to perform their duties.
“The current Nigerian administration may have its deficiencies and deep faults, but the Nigeria people ought not to be punished for their inefficiencies.
“Once again, I call on President @realDonaldTrump to consider adopting measures that individually target those in government who have failed in their duties, rather than target the entire Nigerian population,” Atiku suggested in his Tweet.
I received with sadness the policy of the government of the United States of America to place @Nigeria on its travel ban list.
— Atiku Abubakar (@atiku) February 1, 2020
However, the Presidency, through the Special Adviser to the President on Media & Publicity, Femi Adesina, has reacted to the development. It described the move as a temporary restriction placed on Nigeria and five others by the US’s Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which will be effected on 21st February 2020. According to Adesina, the suspension does not apply to other U.S visas such as those for official, business, tourism and student travel.
He said, “The DHS states the suspension of “immigrant visas” became necessary following a review and update of the methodology (performance metrics) adopted by the U.S Government to assess compliance of certain security criteria by foreign governments.
“Nigeria remains committed to maintaining productive relations with the United States and its international allies especially on matters of global security. Accordingly, President Muhammadu Buhari has established a committee, to be chaired by the Hon. Minister of Interior, to study and address the updated U.S. requirements. The committee will work with the U.S Government, INTERPOL and other stakeholders to ensure all updates are properly implemented.”
Background: The ban on Nigeria comes two years after Nigeria received twice as many immigration visas from the United States compared to other countries that also made the list – Eritrea, Sudan, Tanzania, Kyrgyzstan, and Myanmar. Over 8,000 immigration visas were given to Nigerians, while 2,000 were issued to Sudanese nationals, 290 to Tanzanians, and just 31 to Eritreans.
Why the US banned Nigeria, others: The list is made up of countries that failed to meet US security and information-sharing standards.
According to the acting Homeland Security Secretary, Chad Wolf, “These countries, for the most part, want to be helpful but for a variety of different reasons simply failed to meet those minimum requirements that we laid out.” Nairametrics had earlier reported the planned ban.
The ban blocks these countries from obtaining certain types of visas including immigration. This rule out the issuance of visas that can lead to permanent residency for citizens of the listed countries. The travel ban list was first introduced by President Trump in 2017 but it affects countries with Muslim majorities mostly.
Nigeria and Eritrea’s population account for 50% of Muslims while Kyrgyzstan and Sudan have large Muslim majorities, and Tanzania also has a sizable Muslim community. Although in 2017, President Trump also restricted citizens of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Yemen, Venezuela, and North Korea.
The ban won’t affect non-immigrant visas given to people for temporary stays, including visitors, those doing business or people seeking medical treatment – would not be impacted by the new rules. Also, students are exempted as well as those with “significant contacts” in the US.
Central banks digital currencies pose a threat against the U.S dollar
In general, digital currencies could weaken the power of U.S. sanctions and the ability of the U.S. Treasury to watch illicit financial flows.
A new report by America’s biggest bank, JP Morgan Chase, said the U.S dollar is being faced with a major threat as many central banks’ digital currencies continue to gain traction.
Analysts, including Josh Younger, the head of U.S. interest-rate derivatives strategy and Michael Feroli, the chief U.S. economist, wrote in a report saying this:
“There is no country with more to lose from the disruptive potential of digital currency than the United States.
“This revolves primarily around U.S. dollar hegemony. Issuing the global reserve currency and the medium of exchange for international trade in commodities, goods, and services convey immense advantages.”
Aditi Kumar and Eric Rosenbach also recently penned an opinion piece for Foreign Affairs in which they noted that “Just recently, America’s arch-rival China became the first major economy to carry a real test of a national digital currency.”
In general, electronic currencies could weaken the power of U.S. sanctions and the ability of the U.S. Treasury to watch illicit financial flows. A digital Chinese currency (yuan) combined with China’s developed electronic payment systems may give China more future influence than it ever bargained for.
What Nigerians should know about Digital currencies
A digital currency is a cash balance recorded electronically on a store value card or other physical devices, which could someday replace the physical notes of the naira, for instance.
Digital currencies can be decentralized, that is where the control over the cash supply can come from diverse sources. Digital currencies can also be centralized, where there is a midway point of control over cash supply, just like the way central banks work.
Although JP Morgan does not see the U.S dollar being overthrown as the world’s reserve currency anytime soon, experts warned that the U.S dollar dominance could weaken. This is because its processing trade settlement and the SWIFT system could make it more vulnerable.
The American bank continued by saying:
“Offering a cross-border payment solution built on top of a digital dollar would, particularly if designed to be minimally disruptive to the structure of the domestic financial system, be a very modest investment to protect a key means to project power in the global economy,
“For high-income countries and the U.S. in particular, digital currency is an exercise in geopolitical risk management.”
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said months ago that the Federal Reserve was taking a critical view on the issues regarding a digital currency.
Dollar gains against major currencies
U.S dollar stood firm against major currencies on Monday as fears over rising tensions between America and China over Beijing’s plans to begin
The U.S dollar was up on Monday morning during London’s trading session after protests in Hong Kong yesterday escalated U.S-China tensions.
US dollar stood firm against major currencies on Monday as fears over rising tensions between America and China heightened.
The American Dollar Index that monitors the U.S dollar against a basket of other major currencies was slightly up 0.02% to 99.945 by 11.10 am Nigerian local time.
What it means: Nigerians hoping to meet a foreign exchange payment obligation, transactions via the dollar to countries like Europe, Japan, would have the need to pay fewer dollars to fulfill such transactions.
Meanwhile, the friendship between the Americans and Chinese has soured lately since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. US President Trump and President Jinping of China have traded words against each other issues surrounding COVID-19, including accusations of lack of transparency and cover-ups.
Consequently, the U.S. Commerce Department added 33 Chinese businesses to a blacklist on Friday, and some U.S. Senators proposed sanctions on those businesses.
“The biggest concern is the tension between the United States and China, things were already bad, and it is likely to get worse because of the Hong Kong security law. This supports risk-off trades, which is positive for the dollar and the yen,” Tekuya Kanda, the general manager of research at Gaitame.com Research Institute, told Reuters.
Air Peace to evacuate stranded Indians from Lagos to Kerala
A list of the passengers to be attended to has already been given and the flight shall depart Lagos on May 30, 2020, to Cochin Airport, Kerala.
The management of Air Peace Nigeria has been contacted by the Indian High Commission in Nigeria to undertake the evacuation of stranded Indian nationals to Kerala, India. This was disclosed by the airline via its Twitter handle.
The airline explained that a list of passengers that would be attended to have been released and it has started reaching out to the Indians on Saturday.
It stated, “A list of the passengers to be attended to has already been given to us and we have commenced reaching out to them. The flight shall depart Lagos on May 30, 2020, to Cochin Airport, Kerala.”
The flight is not free anyway. According to the airline, payments are expected immediately and they are Economy is $1.300 and Business class is tag $1,700. “You are equally allowed to pay in Naira at N460/$,” it added.
PUBLIC NOTICE (23-05-2020) pic.twitter.com/bn0xNxnRmO
— Air Peace (@flyairpeace) May 23, 2020
However, some Indians in Nigeria has reacted with mixed feelings to the development on Twitter. While some were ready to join the flight back home, others called for the refund of ticket fare booked a week ago.
For instance, Jayant Khamesra requested for the refund ticket fare of N568, 100, which he paid for a flight from Lagos to Delhi.
He said, “Please refund ticket fare P47812 LAGOS to DELHI. No show by Air Peace and it is been 1 week now, there has been no refund or confirmation of the same. Reference ALHN79 amount N568,100. I am sure a good world-class carrier like Air Peace won’t delay refunds purposely. Please act fast.
Pls refund ticket fare P47812 LAGOS to DELHI – NO SHOW by AirPeace and it’s been 1 week now —- there has been no refund or confirmation of the same. Reference ALHN79 Amount 568100 NGN. Am sure a good world class carrier like AIRPEACE won’t delay refunds purposely. Pls act fast
— Jayant Khamesra (@JKhamesra) May 23, 2020